Government sources believe it is increasingly likely that Mr Sunak will have to raise the threshold at which National Insurance (NIC) contributions are paid in order to counter some of the effects of the increase in NICs due to take effect on next month.
Ministers are divided over how to respond to the crisis and over the weekend senior Tories openly criticized each other over the government’s approach to the 2050 net zero target.
Lord Goldsmith, the environment minister, has ridiculed Oliver Dowden after the Conservative speaker and Cabinet minister warned the public wanted to see ‘less net zero dogma’ and endorsed the prime minister’s nuclear ambitions.
Last year, Lord Goldsmith warned that nuclear was ‘the most expensive form of energy in the history of energy’ – a criticism Mr Johnson appeared to tackle head-on last week. In an article in The Telegraph, the Prime Minister said: “So now is the time to make a series of big new bets on nuclear power. actually safe, clean and reliable.
“It is time to reverse this historic mistake, with a strategy that includes small modular reactors as well as larger power plants. It was the UK that first split the atom. United, which had the world’s first civilian nuclear power plant. It’s time to regain our lead.”
On March 7, Mr Johnson said he would define an energy supply strategy “in the days ahead” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed oil and gas prices to record highs. multi-annual.
A government source suggested that Mr Sunak’s resistance to the prime minister’s nuclear plans was a big factor in the delay in publishing the strategy – a claim denied by another source. The strategy is expected to be released late this week or early next week.
Defending Mr Sunak, a government source said Mr Johnson’s plans amounted to ‘high ambitions’, adding: ‘Obviously you can’t approve funding for a policy when you don’t have not yet the details of how it will work.”
The Nuclear Energy (Funding) Bill currently before Parliament sets out a funding model to incentivize private investment in new power plants. Currently, the government has pledged to fund only one new nuclear power plant by the next election. Mr Johnson wants to go much further, as some MPs are calling for the equivalent of eight major factories by 2050.
All but one of Britain’s existing nuclear reactors are to be decommissioned by 2030.
In a speech to the Conservatives’ Spring Conference in Blackpool on Saturday, Mr Johnson said Britain “will make better use of our own natural hydrocarbons, rather than importing them at high cost from overseas and put the money in Putin’s bank account”.